TV TIPS (SATURDAY)

13:50 Haydock We begin the Channel 4 race previews with a class 2 hurdle over two miles, the first of four races to come from Haydock. With just four scheduled runners this could prove to be a tactical affair and the likely heavy ground conditions could throw up a few surprise results over the course of the day. Early favourite My Tent Or Yours has made the frame in fourteen of fifteen runs over a two mile trip but hasn’t tasted victory in almost three years and although has winning form on soft ground he has only encountered heavy ground once, where he was beaten by almost five lengths. Both trainer Paul Nicholls and jockey Harry Cobden have been in good form over recent weeks and they team up with Old Guard has a 40% winning strike rate over todays’ trip. He won at Exeter last month on much faster ground but has also won on soft and heavy ground in the past and looks to be the most likely winner here. Melodic Rendezvous has previously run well fresh and should relish the conditions as most of his career victories have come on very testing ground. He hasn’t won over hurdles since February 2014 and has had to settle for third in this race in both 2014 and 2015 but has won seven times over todays’ trip throughout his career so could outrun his odds with conditions to suit. Ch’tibello has the benefit of a recent run, finishing less than two lengths behind the winner at Ascot last month, but his only career victory came on good-to-soft ground at the expense of Cloudy Dream (an impressive winner just yesterday). The form of his races have worked out well however his ability to act on the likely severely testing ground is a complete unknown. Old Guard (WIN)

14:05 Ascot Our first trip to Ascot sees seven scheduled runners going to post for the Stella Artois 1965 Chase. The early favourite is Gods Own who finished ahead of the re-opposing Vibrato Valtat and Royal Regatta in the Old Roan Handicap Chase at Aintree last month, despite there being a big difference at the weights and it being his first run since April. He has won over similar distances to today and has conditions to suit so a bold bid looks assured. Trainer Paul Nicholls has won this race four times in six years and is operating at a 36% winning strike rate over fences in the last two weeks. He runs both Vibrato Valtat and Dodging Bullets, with the 2015 Queen Mother Champion Chase winner looking the more likely of the two given his previous course victory. One issue for me is that, although his trainer has stated he’s been waiting to step him up in trip, his best performances have all come over shorter than what he encounters here today and other attempts over similar distances have proven to be disappointing. Gods Own will prove a tough nut to crack but at the prices I am opting for Kylemore Lough who has won his last five over fences and has a career winning strike rate of 66.67%. A winner on good-to-soft, soft and heavy ground he looked highly progressive last season, signing off with a win on the Grade 1 Ryanair Gold Cup Novice Chase at Fairyhouse in March. With an early price of around 13/2 an each way punt could be the way forward however with only two places on offer and Kerry Lee’s runner yet to place in twelve runs i’m going on the nose. Kylemore Lough (WIN)

14:25 Haydock We return to Haydock for the third of today’s TV races, a tough looking race to decipher with a number of the scheduled runners bringing solid form to the table. Uknowhatimeanharry is unbeaten in five since joining Harry Fry, winning over four different distances across those five runs and culminating in a well deserved victory in the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham in March. He won on seasonal re-appearance last year and has won on both soft and heavy ground so has to be high on anyone’s shortlist for this race. Venetia Williams usually starts to bang in the winners once the ground conditions become very testing and has a winning strike rate approaching 30% over the last 12 months here at Haydock. Her runner here, Yala Enki, is proven on soft and heavy ground, was a winner on seasonal re-appearance last year and should be more than capable of improving on his fifth-placed finish in this race last year. Of the remainder, Two Taffs has won his last two and has made the frame in all seven career runs so far although has so far only been successful on good-to-soft ground, while Kruzhlinin is proven on heavy ground and has also won over todays’ trip so cannot be discounted either. Yala Enki (E/W)

14:40 Ascot Yanworth was unbeaten over hurdles until being beaten in to second by Yorkhill in the Neptune at Cheltenham in March. He hasn’t been since but the form of that race is there for all to see as only one of the first eight hasn’t gone on to win since, and when coupled with the fact that he acts on all ground conditions and runs well fresh, he could be tough to beat here. Zarkandar won eight of his first eleven races, culminating in the Aintree Hurdle in 2013, but has only managed one win in fourteen since (although has placed in eight of these fourteen). He was last seen at Aintree just two weeks ago, on his first run in eighteen months, travelling extremely strongly before making a mistake at the last and unseating his rider. Given the way he travelled he’d have every chance but a second outing in quick succession after so long on the sidelines may prove to be his undoing. Lil Rockerfeller has won and placed in two attempts here at Ascot and and is a previous winner over todays’ trip while Garde La Victoire has won his last two over hurdles and boasts a career winning strike rate of 55%, yet in truth both are likely fighting it out for minor honours here today. Yanworth (WIN)

15:00 Haydock The feature race of the day is the Betfair Chase, race one of the national hunt triple crown. We see two previous winners (Cue Card in 2013 and 2015, and Silviniaco Conti in 2012 and 2014) return and also have the 2015 Gold Cup winner Coneygree make his eagerly awaited return after injury ruled him out of the majority of last season. Coneygree has won nine of his eleven career runs, is unbeaten over a three mile trip and has won on soft and heavy ground. Under normal circumstances it would be considered a difficult ask to beat two previous winners of this race on re-appearance, and there is always the danger that he will simply need the run after twelve months away from the course, however his was extremely impressive before his lay-off and with both Cue Card and Silviniaco Conti somewhat disappointing on their respective re-appearances he could takes this on his way to another highly successful season. The biggest danger could come from Seeyouatmidnight who has a win and second to his name, on heavy and soft ground, from two runs over course and distance. Both these victories came over hurdles but he has also proved to be impressive over the larger obstacles, winning four from seven all in testing conditions. This will be his toughest test to date over fences but with trainer and jockey in great form and conditions very much in his favour he looks the most likely to benefit from any below-par performances from the market principles. Coneygree (WIN)

15:15 Ascot Our final race from Ascot sees two former winners return. Dresden won this race last year and Croco Bay the year before but both would need to show vast improvement on their most recent attempts to get back on the winning trail again. Quite By Chance was an impressive course and distance winner last time out so needs to be considered here despite the 8lbs rise. His victory came on good-to-firm ground but his previous two victories came on soft so the conditions should hold no fears, however the bigger concern for me would be the fact that he has only managed one win from eight over todays’ trip so he is passed over today. Sire De Grugy has been an amazing performer year on year but has found winning hard to come by in the last twelve months and was last of seven on seasonal re-appearance at Aintree last month. He sometimes needs his first run to build race fitness so it would be no surprise to see a better performance however I fear he may find a couple of these too good here. Vaniteux has won two from four over fences, going down by a neck in another and wasn’t far behind Douvan in the Arkle before unseating his rider two from home. His trainer Nicky Henderson has had five winners from his last eleven runners over fences and in Vaniteux could have a future superstar chaser to take over from the recently retired Sprinter Sacre. A course and distance winner on re-appearance last season before finishing third to Dresden in this race, Cold March needs to be considered and could prove to be a viable each way option with the Venetia Williams yard starting to fire. Vaniteux (WIN)

15:35 Haydock The final live Channel 4 race sees seven runners scheduled to go to post, making it another difficult race for each way backers. Firebird Flyer has proven form over the trip and should enjoy the conditions having won seven times on either soft or heavy ground, although is now on a career high mark and is yet to win in five attempts here at Haydock. Three Faces West has won five and placed in two from his ten career runs and has won on soft ground, although it is definitely worth noting that the three races where he hasn’t made the frame have all been on return from a break. Kaki De La Pree has won on soft ground and has made the frame in 75% of all races over a three mile trip, but has disappointed twice when racing on heavy ground and the yard haven’t had a winner since the new season got underway. With question marks surrounding the above we turn to Saroque who won on seasonal re-appearance last year and is only 2lbs higher for his return here. Taken at face value his last few races don’t inspire too much confidence but these came over further and he should improve for the drop back to three miles for today. Furthermore, all career victories have come on soft or heavy ground and with his trainer amongst the winners in recent days he is the choice in the finale. Saroque (WIN)

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